There I was on my birthday sipping coffee and reading newspapers online. All I could hear was the hum of my refrigerator, the buzz of my aging laptop and the chirps from the robins outdoors wafting its way into my kitchen. I needed the day off from work and life in my own special way. I typically never celebrate holidays, so I made this year’s birthday my own holiday. It turned out to be a great day off, but it got me to thinking too much.
I was thinking that as we mature, we tell ourselves on the one hand that birthdays shouldn’t be a huge deal, but they remain just as important as they were when we were kids. Sure, we replace childhood games like, “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” with subdued adult gatherings filled with reminiscing and sweet treats, but one thing remains: we make a big deal over becoming one year older.
It wasn’t always like this in my family. My mother’s father and her mother came to America from Russia and Poland respectively and they didn’t know their true birthdays. Papa and Grandma pretty much guessed the year they were born. The birthday ritual was absent in their native lands. Still, when they somewhat settled here in the United States, they joined this society’s devotion to birthdays and celebrated their special days on January 1.
We all perhaps buy into this subconscious notion that we made it over another hurdle.
“Kudos! I made it through another year!” we tell ourselves. Why? Is it human nature? I don’t have the answer to that question.
We measure everything in this life. From our height and test scores to the size of our homes and salaries, we’re trained in this society to identify with measurements. Indeed those facts are a reality, but it all seems so restrictive and stressful. Why can’t we enjoy the moment without so much bother and worry?
Yes, we can forget about life’s measurements through stress relief techniques, but it seems like such a Band-Aid on the very fact that we need life’s measurements. Without measurements, progress wouldn’t have happened. We would all be a bunch of existentialists living in the woods.
I know the key to dealing with the stress of life’s measurements and reducing the worry of them is balance. So, on this birthday, I chose balance and the result was a rather simplistic, joyous occasion – spending much-needed time on my own in the morning and later in the day with loved ones.